Or any kind of televised sports thing really. I don’t particularly enjoy Wimbledon. Horse racing gets my goat. Motor racing just sounds like a bunch of kids shouting “eeeooow” into a biscuit tin. Football I absolutely loathe. And golf is just stupid: a stupid sport to play, a stupid sport to go and watch and an even more stupid sport to attempt to televise.
I don’t do sport. I really don’t.
I even hated it as a kid. I hated playing it at school. Football, rounders and, worst of all, cricket. I’d be one of the last to be picked for any team. I was always in the last 4 which is great if you’re a contestant on The Apprentice but not so great when you have all the cool kids lined up looking at you, trying to work out whether you’re more or less useless than the Buswell twins or Alan Winyard who would inevitably be the three other guys left waiting with me. To my dubious credit I’d be picked before these guys. I could catch a ball and, in football, had a dogged but ineffectual determination which made me ideal defender fodder. I was like a gnat worrying a bull a lot of the time. But at least I did something. I could be patronized with the best of them too – I made man of the match once for scoring a fluky goal. But even that success didn’t convert me.
I hated watching sport as a kid too. Sport on the telly meant no cartoons or James Bond film. It meant painfully long Saturday afternoons in the 70’s with Dicky Davies and World of Sport. It meant my father watching football, motocross, rugby and then the interminable hour of the football results through teatime. I consider it progress that my boys will never have to suffer the hell of “Plymouth Argyll 1, Queen’s Park Rangers 2” uttered in a TV voice drier than Barbara Woodhouse’s ashes.
So I will not be getting on board for Olympic fever. Up until now I haven’t even bothered myself to write about it. It’s felt like the recession. It’s there, we all know it’s there, why waste our breath talking about it? But this torch thing. It’s everywhere. It’s coming to my home town. It’s coming past the building where I work although I’m not allowed to talk about that here. Every day there are updates on the TV about where the torch is right now and which paraplegic bus conductor is currently carrying it another mile on its journey.
Stupidly I thought there was just one torch and, in the true nature of a relay, it would get given to the next runner, and the next. But no. Everyone gets a new torch. Seems a phenomenal waste of money to me but then what a perfect metaphor for the whole event. I believe some of the torch bearers are even selling their torches on eBay. I’m tempted. I really am. You’d get a helluva lot of ice cream in one of those cones.
I won’t be watching the Olympics this summer. Aside from the opening ceremony, that is. That might be worth a laugh. I’m hoping Boris Johnson will leap out of a double-decker bus, naked apart from a pair of Austin Powers glasses and some novelty sock suspenders. After that I’m switching off. I’ll be hitting my DVD boxed sets or, if push comes to shove, Dave. I’m deliberately not coming to the party or joining in.
I suspect it will just be me, the Buswell twins and Alan Winyard but you know what? For once I don’t care. I’m deliberately not picking myself for the Olympic team. I’m happy to be left out. Happy to be less useful than those of you who can throw a ball straight.
Sport always kicked me in the shins and made me feel less worthy. It took away my dignity and my self-confidence. It made everything a competition that only the biggest and the fastest could win.
So I am boycotting the Olympics; boycotting it in honour of all of us who were too knock-kneed and too pigeon-toed to be any good at sport. I’m doing it for the Buswells. I’m doing it for Alan Winyard.
And most of all I am doing it for the British Olympic team.
Go Team GB! Go!
I know you won’t let me down.